VTB sells 50% stake in Tele2 Russia

VTB sells 50% stake in Tele2 Russia

Russian bank VTB has sold 50% of mobile operator Tele2 Russia to billionaire Yuri Kovalchuk and partners, the Financial Times reports.

In April this year, VTB acquired Tele2 Russia in its entirety from its Tele2 parent company, and the deal with Kovalchuk is expected to initiate much stronger competition in Russia’s mobile market.

Kovalchuk will become a shareholder of Tele2 Russia as well as a shareholder of Bank Rossiya, which earlier this month was in talks with Rostelecom over a potential stake sale.

The 50% stake sale comes amid talks of a potential merger between Tele2 Russia and Rostelecom, which would create a strong fourth competitor in Russia against major players MTS, MegaFon and VimpelCom.

Tele2 Russia has approximately 23 million subscribers but does not own a 4G licence, while Rostelecom holds a 4G licence and has 14 million subscribers.

Industry experts have consequently expressed the obvious opportunity for collaboration between the two companies for several months.

VTB did not disclose the price of the stake, but according to local reports, it fell in line with market expectations.

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